Chris Sutton bigs up Joe Hart's “huge” Celtic moment against rivals

By David Walton

May 3, 2022

Chris Sutton has bigged up Joe Hart’s “huge” moment against Rangers and stated that the Celtic goalkeeper “produces when it matters”.

Hart was key in keeping the Ibrox side out in the closing stages of Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Parkhead. He managed to push a Fashion Sakala effort over the bar before an astonishing one-handed stop to deny Scott Arfield from close-range.

Beforehand, Hart had little to do. Celtic had kept Rangers quiet and looked to be heading for 3 points. However, Sakala’s equaliser changed the complexion of the game as the former Man City man had to repel them in the closing stages.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And Sutton has moved to highlight the influence he had on keeping Celtic’s 6-point advantage over Rangers intact.

Speaking via his Daily Record column, Sutton said: “Forget about pointing the finger at Joe Hart for the opener. He may have been beaten at his near post but it was all about the power. I would point to the huge save he made towards the end instead. That’s what having a top keeper is all about.

“Hart produces when it matters. He’s a proven winner and one of the main men this season. His experience will be needed in the next few weeks because this is the hard part – getting over the line.

“This time of the season isn’t about the fancy football or the spectacular goals, it’s about getting the results you need to finish the job.”

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Joe Hart took away any doubt over derby performance with big Celtic moments

It would’ve been so easy to point the finger at Hart for Sakala’s goal on Sunday. The idea that goalkeepers should never be beaten at their near post has become a tiresome cliché.

The truth is that with the power and placement in the effort, there wasn’t a lot Hart could’ve done. God forbid we actually have to admit it was a decent strike. Question marks instead should be placed on why Hart was left so exposed.

Regardless, a draw was the lowest of the acceptable outcomes to come from Sunday. We actually managed that because of Hart’s heroics at the death. Keeping out both Sakala and Arfield took some sharp thinking – particularly the latter.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It takes away any doubt over his performance on the day. Takes away any doubt over whether he can still compete at the top level. Had Arfield tucked that particular chance away, the analysis from Sunday’s game would be a whole lot different. That shows the kind of influence Joe has on this Celtic side.

Ange Postecoglou has already bigged the former England number 1 up after the performance and no wonder. He stood up for the club when it mattered most, and it’s great to see Chris highlight it too.

Now, it’s time to get the job done and secure the league winner’s medal Hart deserves for the season he’s had.

In other news, Middlesbrough’s Riley McGree explains why he didn’t sign for Celtic back in January